‘Journal of Times | Journal of Present Times’ by Nadim Karam curated by Nayla Tamraz at Abroyan Factories

Curated by Nayla Tamraz the ‘Journal of Times | Journal of Present Times ‘ exhibition, takes place at Abroyan Factories from March 27th until May 2nd, 2024. Narrating the tumultuous journey of artist Nadim Karam over the past three decades, the exhibition serves as a comprehensive record of contemporary events, encapsulating the upheavals of the 2006 war, population displacement in the Middle East, periods of confinement, and the devastating Beirut port explosion.
Nadim Karam, From the War series, 2006, watercolour on paper, 26x36cm

At the heart of Karam’s expansive oeuvre lies the monumental triptych panel titled “Massacre” (mixed media on canvas, 200 x 360 cm, 2009), embodying themes of violence, historical burdens, ruins, roots, and exile. This polymorphic collection traverses various mediums, materials, and techniques, intertwining characters and narratives that migrate fluidly from sketchbooks to public spaces.

Nadim Karam, The Massacre, 2009, mixed media on canvas, 200×360 cm (triptych)

The exhibition, structured into five sections, retraces Karam’s trajectory, inviting contemplation of his evolving artistic expression. His career spanning 30 years is characterised by its atypical nature, eschewing conventional conceptual or material languages. Instead, Karam’s creations, originating from drawing exercises, are intended for public spaces, challenging viewers to engage with the socio-political issues inherent in public art.

Karam’s work exists outside the mainstream conceptual paradigms of contemporary art, affirming his status as a maverick. While not directly challenging the prevailing world order, it incites controversy by prompting profound political, ethical, aesthetic, and institutional inquiries. Exhibiting his work necessitates a commitment to spotlighting the debates it ignites, underscoring its significance in shaping discourse on contemporary issues.

Nadim Karam, From The Gesture series, 2019, watercolour on paper, 24x17cm

About Nadim Karam

Nadim Karam is a contemporary artist known for his narrative-driven creations that intricately engage with urban landscapes and societal contexts. Through his site-specific projects, Karam re-evaluates contextual issues and celebrates the diversity inherent in society, often adopting a whimsical and surreal approach, even when confronting profound societal challenges.

During his doctoral studies focusing on the concept of eastern space in Japan, Karam developed a distinctive visual language that explores the intersection of spaces, memories, and human experiences, predominantly expressed through his performance art projects. Subsequently, his passion for urban architecture and his self-taught artistic endeavours in drawing, painting, and sculpture naturally coalesced into a series of impactful public art installations.

Through his multidisciplinary studio, Nadim Karam Studio (NKS), Karam has executed numerous site-specific projects commissioned by cities and institutions worldwide. His diverse body of work, including paintings and sculptures, has been showcased in galleries, biennales, and museums globally. Additionally, Booth-Clibborn Editions in London has published four monographs dedicated to his artistic journey.

Based in Beirut and Rotterdam, Karam continues to push the boundaries of artistic expression, seamlessly blending his architectural sensibilities with his artistic prowess to create thought-provoking installations that resonate with audiences around the world.

Location: Abroyan Factories, Bourj Hammoud

Date: 27 March–2 May 2024

Caption featured image: Nadim Karam, From Beirut to Dubai, 2008, mixed media on canvas, 160×285 cm (triptych)

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